CPC to prosecute Benin, Enugu DISCOs
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has said it is to commence prosecution procedure against Benin and Enugu Distribution Companies for violating its enabling Act in the on-going investigation of the activities of the country’s distribution companies (DISCOs), following consumer complaints.
The agency’s added that its action came on the heels of the non-appearance of the Benin and Enugu Distribution Companies without sufficient reason before the Council’s Panel, instituted to investigate numerous complaints of electricity consumers on estimated billings and non-provision of metres.
A press statement from the council indicated that the Benin Distribution Company was expected to appear before the Panel on Wednesday by 10 am, while Enugu’s time was 2pm the same day, in line with a schedule of appearance agreed upon with the representatives of the DISCOs at their meeting with the Council on Monday, September 7, 2015.
It read in parts, ‘’The distribution company, like its other counterparts, was also expected to have forwarded some documents that would aid the Council in its hearing by Friday, September 11, 2015, even though the date was shifted to Monday, September 14, 2015 for all the DISCOs, pursuant to a plea from the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) for more time for the submission of the documents.’’
The statement further said that though the Council’s Panel began its sitting on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 with the appearance of Ikeja and Kaduna Distribution Companies before it, Benin and Enugu Distribution Companies disobeyed the Summons by not appearing before the Panel as scheduled and neither did they send in the requested documents.
The Panel’s Chairman, Emmanuel Ataguba, while announcing the Council’s decision to his Panel members and representatives of ANED present at the aborted hearing, declared that the action of the Benin and Enugu DISCOs was a clear violation of the Council’s enabling law.
His words, “I am satisfied that on 7th September 2015, Benin DISCO was served with the Summons to attend the Council’s hearing on the 16th day of September 2015 to provide documents and information. They are not here and there is nothing on record to explain their absence, neither have they submitted any document. This conduct is contrary to Section 18 of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Act, which provides criminal sanctions for such conduct and the Council shall take immediate steps to ensure the prosecution of the Chief Executive and principal officers accordingly in the Federal High Court.”
On the Enugu DISCO, he said “Enugu DISCO did not appear on the 7th of September as well as today, 16th of September. So the Council will also take steps to prosecute them accordingly”.
In a related development, the Panel granted the request of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, which was also expected to appear before the Panel on Wednesday by 12 noon, for a postponement of its appearance to Monday, September 21, 2015.